Friday, October 19, 2012

When the wealthy decide when poorer men and women should retire

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

“The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands — the ownership and control of their livelihoods — are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.” ~ Helen Keller

I was listening to Ann Coulter spewing venom on Real Time with Bill Maher (probably the best reason to sign up for HBO) last week when, among other nuggets of wisdom, she began to parrot the conservative line about raising the retirement age, and how people live longer these days - blah blah blah.

And these arguments appeal to lots of folks, especially if all they see are the spry older folk taking Viagra on commercials, or highlighted on “lifestyle” (oh, isn’t it time to bury this stupid word?) segments on how folks are enjoying their retirement years. I mean, just look, Ma:

They run marathons!

They flirt with younger people!

They lift weights!

They sky dive!

They paint, write poetry and sing Karaoke!

They’re so adorable.

Yeah, that’s dandy. But come with me, as the sainted Carl Sagan used to say, on a voyage of discovery . . .

We aren’t going very far, and in fact in many cases our voyage means simply retracing steps you have probably taken thousands of times a month.

Trips to the mall, or Wally World. Going to the library, the video store or even the grocery store. The house of worship of your choice.

Along with the spry older folks (who these days instead of passing down wisdom are passing down sex advice), you will find, along side them, and even in front of them, older people who aren’t quite so spry.

Oh, you say, it’s their own damn fault. They should be jogging more, or going to the gym on a regular basis. They should take more vitamins, or take a yoga class.

But we would say that, Daemonic Reader, only if we were as steeped in ignorance and denial as the folks who give us the “Jolly Old People” pieces on TV.

Go to the Wally World of your choice ( none of this snotty “I won’t put money in their pockets” crap - this is a science trip) and take a really good look at your fellow shoppers.

The folks who are disabled enough to be in constant pain, but not enough to qualify for the aid of the state. Watch how they carry themselves. Note, if you can, the number of hands that are missing a finger, or are bent into a claw shape from catching chickens for too many years.

Note the folks who have to lean on their carts, because standing up straight is no longer an option. Look at the sort of food they are able to afford to buy.

If you peer really, really hard you can see the rashes caused from exposure to too many chemicals used on the job. Note the scars on the backs of hands from flashing knives in a poultry plant.

And note the amount of empathy it arouses in yourself. If it doesn’t make you too empathetic, that may well qualify you for Congress - or at least a position as a talking head in TV Land.

These are the folks for whom the debate over whether they should wait a few more years before they can retire is a living nightmare.

There is a lot that is disgusting in the world, but the notion of well-nourished men and women sitting on TV talking about how the retirement age needs to be raised is pretty near the top of my list. What is also pretty disheartening is that whenever the topic comes up for discussion, no one from a TV station or newspaper can seem to find any of the walking wounded in their own communities.

******

First Amendment News: Shooting at Florida beauty shop leaves three dead

Three women were shot to death in Casselberry, Florida on Thursday.

The gunman had a restraining order hearing set, brought by the manager of the salon, who was wounded herself in the attack.

Afterwards, man then went to a friend’s house, where he killed himself.

*****

Quote of the Day

Before strongly desiring anything, we should look carefully into the happiness of its present owner. - Francois De La Rochefoucauld

sdrake@cox.net

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